When I was first diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in late 2015, a couple of close friends envisioned my near future with dread. They had me losing my license …. or in a wheelchair, the dementia unit or my coffin. They were living in the fear of my brain’s future wreckage. I was somewhat shell shocked at the time so was too busy living in the rubble of my life as I knew it to fully process their fears.
Well, it’s almost two years later and I’m in my office typing away — in full sentences even — on my laptop. I even remember the points I’m trying to make — most of the time at least – and I’m no closer to a coffin than I would be two years hence without PD.*
I’m okay. Really. I’m not just a Parkie, a Twitcher, a patient. I’m also an asthmatic. But I’m more than my ailments; I am a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend. I’m an employee and a boss. I am many things. And, I’m not an idiot. I’m well aware that my life would be better without either of my chronic diseases. But it is what it is and, as Popeye would say, “I am what I am, and that’s all that I am.”
None of us have crystal balls – I can’t tell you how my Parkinson’s Disease will progress because no one knows; every patient’s trajectory is unique. I hope my progression remains slow and that research speeds up. All of us will be thrown curveballs in this life. So, my philosophy is to just keep swinging. Put one foot in front of the other and even if we do so slowly and carefully, we’ll still be moving forward. Movement is part of the PD prescription – and essential for life.
*Most people die with Parkinson’s not from it. Yes, I am aware that there are PD complications that may knock me off this mortal coil sooner than I would otherwise depart. But that’s a thought for another day. Today, like most days, I choose denial. Actively. I choose to look at the glass that is this life, as half full — and rich and glorious. Let the pikers of the world pay attention to the empty half.